'Mars One' Mission Is Currently Infeasible, MIT Study Finds

Good thing we still have 10 years before anyone's scheduled to leave Earth.

Mars One's plans for colonizing the Red Planet. (Facebook)

Mars One’s plans for colonizing the Red Planet. (Facebook)

Bad news for anyone who was looking forward to humans colonizing Mars anytime soon.

A recent MIT study has found that plans for Mars One — that scary-sounding Dutch mission to send a bunch of Earthlings on a one-way trip to colonize the Red Planet — are currently unfeasible. 

“One of the biggest claims made by the Mars One team is that absolutely no new technology needs to be developed for the success of their mission,” aerospace engineer Sydney Do, who led the study, told Popular Mechanics. “We found that there are several cases — for systems like the environmental control and life support — where that’s just not true.”

According to the study, there are a number of reasons Mars One might be destined for disaster, as the plans stand right now.

One problem, the researchers found, was that it would take an unsustainable amount of money and resources to re-supplying the growing colony with the spare parts it’d eventually need.

“The mission’s plan relies on a steady resupply stream — bringing replacements like filters, pumps, motors — for when something inevitably breaks,” Mr. Do told Popular Mechanics. “As the colony expands, you find that the sheer mass of the spare parts you’re transporting explodes and becomes a bigger and bigger part of what you send to Mars each time you launch.”

The study also found that with all the plants required to feed Mars One’s participants, the colony would eventually contain excess levels of oxygen, which could post a fire risk. Yikes.

Mr. Do said that here on Earth, we have technologies to remove excess oxygen from the atmosphere, but “as far as [his study] could find, this entire issue of needing to remove oxygen has never been mentioned in any of the Mars One plans.”

Mars One’s site still states that the plan is to ship crews of four out to Mars every two years, starting in 2024. Maybe Buzz Aldrin, notable proponent of colonizing Mars, needs to step in a give everybody some guidance.